Written by: Krystal Wilson, Assistant Director of Prospect Management & Research at Appalachian State University, and Past-President of APRA-Carolinas
In honor of #ResearchPride month, as we advocate for our profession, I’d like to share a few tips on how to advocate within your own organization.
- Step up and take initiative. Don’t wait for things to happen to you. For example, review gift reports daily or weekly to look at new donors, determine a threshold that works for your shop, and screen them. You may find a donor that has given $25,000+ to similar organizations… can you say ‘research win’?
- Don’t just pull up a chair to the strategy table; own it. Speak up, ask questions, and let your voice be heard. Whether in meetings or in an email with the typical research that you provide, share your opinion or insights (ex: patterns you’ve noticed in a prospect’s giving) as it can change the solicitation strategy.
- Increase your presence. Check in with development officers on a regular basis with a phone call or stop by their offices. This may open the door to get more information than by only reading contact reports. If possible, volunteer at events so you can meet prospects and donors. Some people will share their life story or maybe that tidbit of info that you haven’t been able to verify. Score!
- Track your work. Create (or ask your lovely report-writer colleagues to create) a report to show the number of prospects you rated, or number of records that you added or updated research, or number of prospects you identified.
- Build your network within your organization, your local APRA chapter, and in APRA International. APRA is truly a community of learners that empower one another; so, I strongly encourage you to get involved. Through APRA, I learned how to be an information strategist, how to enhance a prospect development program, and have met many amazing people that I have the honor to call friends. #IamAPRA
- Last but not least, be positive and have fun! Having a positive attitude can increase productivity and creativity, as well as lower stress.
Feel free to share your tips on how to advocate. Thanks for reading! #ResearchPride